On our second day, We went to Taal, the Town. The town is far from the Volcano itself. We had a stop over at Mahogany Market. There are lots of fruits and veggies. That's why it is nice to live up there, with the nice climate and the fresh harvest. We bought some fruits like Chesa and Guyabano(soursop). And when we but kakanin, there would always be free-taste. Sweet!!!
Then we drove off to Lemery then past the bridge to Taal Town. It is where the rich and the political people lived during the Spanish Era. We first visited Taal Basilica, the largest church in Asia. The original was was built in 1575 in another location and was destroyed in one of the eruptions in 1754, rebuilt in the actual location in 1755. Every time the volcano erupts, towns are relocated/reshuffled, so towns are not on their original locations. The dome still has the original painting.
At lunch time, we ate at Taal Bistro Restaurant. We enjoyed their native food, Tapang Taal(fried pork marinated in soy sauce) and Enseladang Talong(Eggplant salad with red egg,onions, tomato and green mango). The chicken is also delicious.
After which we roamed around the town itself. We first visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay. They say it's miraculous. Legend says a fisherman found the image floating at sea. The image was protected by two Caysaysay birds, hence the name. We took 100 steps down to reach the church. We also visited the Sta. Lucia wells, with miraculous waters. It is part of a sunken church.
We roamed the streets again, saw the ancestral houses, but too our dismay, they were closed because they say its a holiday. I told them. The heritage town Vigan is too far from the Manila, but tourists go there, and they don't close it. Unlike Taal, which is accessible from Manila, but few people knew that there is a heritage town there. It's lack effort on their tourism.
Taal is known for Piña clothe embroideries. Marcela Agoncillo, the one who embroidered the first Philippine flag lived there. People travel to buy Barong and Balisong(Iron butterfly) there. When I asked the lady how long it takes to finish one design, she said it took her 6 months. wow! There are also lots of shops selling gowns, for weddings, Sagalas, and what have you. Some are classy and some are whimsical as if it came out of a story book. We went to the market bought some authentic pasalubong like, Tablea(pure chocolate for hot choco), ube(purple yam), Tapang Taal, and suman( sticky rice cooked in coconut milk with sugar which is wrapped in banana leaf).
We returned to Tagaytay on our way back to Manila. There are mounds of pineapples at the side of the road. We bought some, they are in different sizes. And we passed by Mahogany Market again to buy more fruits, like jackfruit, Señorita bananas, and Ube. At dinner time we ate Bulalo(beef bone marrow soup). On the Sta. Rosa route, we bought some Collette's Buko Pie for pasalubong.
All in all, our short trip was fun, full of adventure and we love cultural/historical discovery of the past. Batangas is such a rich province, there are lots to see and experience. And it is also fun to travel with different people who treats you as family. It is a refreshing experience.